Dante (Devil May Cry)

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For other uses, see Dante (disambiguation).
Dante
Devil May Cry character
Dante transparent.png
Dante as seen in his original appearance
First game Devil May Cry (2001)
Created by Hideki Kamiya
Designed by Makoto Tsuchibayashi, Daigo Ikeno (Devil May Cry 2 & 3), Tatsuya Yoshikawa (Devil May Cry 4), Alessandro Taini (DmC: Devil May Cry)
Voiced by (English) Drew Coombs (Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe)
Matt Kaminsky (Devil May Cry 2)
Reuben Langdon (Devil May Cry 3, Devil May Cry 4, Marvel vs. Capcom 3[1] and Devil May Cry: The Animated Series)
Tim Phillipps[2] (DmC: Devil May Cry, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale)
Voiced by (Japanese) Toshiyuki Morikawa (Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Project X Zone)
Motion capture Reuben Langdon (Devil May Cry 3 and 4)
Tim Phillipps[2] (DmC: Devil May Cry)

Dante (ダンテ?) is a fictional character and the primary protagonist of the Devil May Cry series created and published by Capcom.[3] In the first four games, Dante is a mercenary, private investigator, and demon hunting vigilante dedicated to exterminating them and other malevolent supernatural foes, a mission he follows in pursuit of those that killed his mother and corrupted his brother. He is the son of Sparda, a demon of great power and as a result of his heritage, he possesses numerous powers beyond that of any human, which he uses in combination with a variety of weapons to accomplish his goals. The character also appears in several Devil May Cry novels and manga volumes; and is featured in the 2007 anime TV series. A reboot of the series by Ninja Theory features him in an alternate universe as a young adult fighting against demons. Dante has also appeared as a guest character in multiple crossover games.

The character was designed to fit Devil May Cry game designer Hideki Kamiya's vision of a "cool and stylish" man, and his personality was based on the titular character of the manga series Cobra. Across the series, Dante's portrayal has been modified to appeal to criticism aimed towards his role in the first sequel with Devil May Cry 3 featuring a younger and cockier Dante while Devil May Cry 4 offered an older yet cocky characterization. While Capcom handled the character in the first four games, Ninja Theory was in charge of his persona in the reboot.

Dante has been become one of the most popular characters in gaming, having been recognized for his role in the Devil May Cry series and various characteristics that have attracted gamers. However, Dante's redesign and characterization in the reboot was the subject of controversy amongst gamers.

Characteristics[edit]

Dante is a mercenary and private investigator specializing in paranormal cases, preferring those that call for demon slaying.[4] He is muscular, has white/silver hair, icy-blue eyes and is usually seen wearing red dusters/trench coats. Dante's arsenal usually consists of firearms and melee weapons, including "Ebony and Ivory", twin handguns that never need reloading, as well as a variety of swords such as the "Rebellion" and "Force Edge", Devil Arms created by his father.[5] The guns are handmade with "For Tony Redgrave, By.45 Art Warks" written on them (Tony Redgrave is the alias used by Dante).[6] He possesses superhuman strength and agility, as a result of his half-demon heritage.[7] This gives him the ability to enter a heightened state called "Devil Trigger". In this state, Dante possesses greater strength and speed, his health regenerates at a steady pace, and further abilities with his equipped melee weapon, including flight.[8]

Dante is one of the twin sons of Sparda, the demon knight who sided with humanity and drove back an invasion of the human world by demons 2,000 years ago.[9] After Sparda's death, Dante and his identical twin brother Vergil were raised by their human mother, Eva. When Dante and Vergil were children, the family was attacked by demons, resulting in Eva's death. This event led to Dante's commitment to hunting demons in pursuit of those that killed his mother.[10] Dante is confident in his encounters with opponents, and frequently taunts enemies before battling them.[11] With the exception of Devil May Cry 4, Dante says the phrase "Devils never cry" in every game, implying that no matter how much of a demon he may prove to be, his ability to cry makes his human side precious to him.

Appearances[edit]

Devil May Cry video games[edit]

In the original Devil May Cry, Dante is hired by Trish, a mysterious woman who looks similar to his deceased mother, to stop the return of the devil king Mundus.[12] However, she is actually setting up events for Mundus' agents to kill Dante as he makes his way to Mundus himself. During the course of the game Dante is also reunited with his brother Vergil, who, under the control of Mundus, attempts to kill him.[13] Trish eventually betrays Mundus to save Dante, and the pair work together to lock Mundus in the demon world. Afterwards, they become partners in Dante's demon-slaying business, now renamed "Devil Never Cry".[14]

In the first sequel, Devil May Cry 2, Dante is shown to have a habit of flipping a coin to make his decisions, although it is revealed at the end of the game that both sides of the coin are heads. Set some time after the first game, Devil May Cry 2 focuses on aiding the character Lucia in defeating Arius, an international businessman who uses demonic power and seeks to conquer the world.[15] At the end of the game, Dante must go into the demon world to stop a demon lord from escaping, but the gate closes behind him and he is trapped. With no way back to the human world, Dante heads even deeper into the demon world on his motorcycle.[16]

The third game, Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, serves as a prequel to the first game and features a cockier and younger Dante. In the story, Dante is drawn out by his brother Vergil, who is attempting to reopen the portal to the demon world in order to obtain the full power of Sparda, which remains on the other side contained within the sword Force Edge.[17] Along the way, Dante encounters Lady, who is in pursuit of her father Arkham,[18] who is working with Vergil, but has plans of his own. In the end, Dante claims ownership of the Force Edge, while Vergil chooses to remain in the demon world.[19] Inspired by Lady's courage and commitment to her own family, Dante continues his business with a greater sense of purpose. They become friends, and he decides to call his shop "Devil May Cry", after something Lady had said to comfort him.[20][21]

Released in 2008, Devil May Cry 4 is the first game in the series not to feature Dante as the primary character. Dante is seen as an antagonist by the game's lead character, Nero, after he presumably kills Sanctus, the leader from The Order of the Sword in charge of hunting demons. Across the story, Dante befriends Nero when he decides to face The Order.[22] When Nero is kidnapped by Sanctus, the player controls Dante once again as he continues his fight against the Order.[23] After Nero is saved and Sanctus defeated, Dante entrusts Nero with Vergil's sword he has been wielding.[24]

Reboot[edit]

A reboot of Devil May Cry franchise, DmC: Devil May Cry, features an alternative universe Dante with a very different appearance.[25] Dante is featured as a young adult in his early twenties who is attacked by a seemingly sentient town known as Limbo City populated by demons.[26] During the reboot, Dante meets his brother Vergil, who is the leader of The Order – a rogue vigilante group trying to free the world from the demons. The city is controlled by the demon king, Mundus, who killed Dante's mother Eva (an angel) and later imprisoned his father (Sparda, a demon and Mundus' former lieutenant) in an attempt to kill the children, since Nephilim (half-angel, half-demon offspring) held the power to kill Mundus. Dante joins Vergil's group to oppose Mundus, eventually taking him down and freeing humanity from the demons; however, Vergil's intentions to take Mundus' place cause a fight between the brothers which Dante wins and Vergil escapes. In the downloadable content sequel, Vergil's Downfall, a replica of Dante appears to oppose Vergil in his quest for power but is killed in combat.

Other appearances[edit]

Dante has playable appearances in several games outside of the Devil May Cry series of games. In the Viewtiful Joe series, also created by Hideki Kamiya, Dante is playable in the PlayStation 2 version of Viewtiful Joe and the PSP version of Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble. In both games, he frequently has dialogue with Alastor, who is revealed to be the embodiment of the identically-named sword from Devil May Cry.[27][28] He appears as an enemy and optional ally in the director's cut release of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. His inclusion was suggested by the Atlus staff due to how well Dante would fit in the game's plot and convinced Capcom to include him.[29] There is a Dante character card in SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS. He makes his second fighting game appearance as a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.[30] He was also set to appear in Soulcalibur III, but did not make it into the final game.[31] He appears as a playable character in the tactical role-playing game Project X Zone.[32] Dante is a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, using his appearance from DmC: Devil May Cry.[33] The inclusion of his DmC persona over the classic one generated criticism by fans and SuperBot Entertainment responded to them expecting them to enjoy the character's gameplay mechanics.[34]

Dante also appears in many other pieces of media based on the video games. These include two light novels written by Shinya Goikeda featuring original stories; The first has a young Dante under the alias of "Tony Redgrave" as he is chased by assassins and Devil May Cry 2 prequel that has him searching for a demonic statue known as the Beastheads.[35][36] A Devil May Cry 4 novel by writer Bingo Morihashi reprises Dante's role from the game but reveals his interest in Nero after finding him very similar to his brother, Vergil.[37] There is also a Devil May Cry 3 manga that follows Dante before the game's events, a comic of the first game published by Dreamwave Productions,[38] and an anime titled Devil May Cry: The Animated Series that follows his daily life as he solves cases involving demons.[39][40] The reboot version of Dante also appears in the prequel comic The Chronicles of Vergil when he receives the sword Rebellion to fight demons.[41]

The popularity of the Devil May Cry series lead to a line of action figures produced by Toycom.[42] Japanese company Kaiyodo produced a similar line for Devil May Cry 2 and a Devil May Cry 3 Dante action figure.[36][43]

Conception and design[edit]

Dante debuted in Devil May Cry, a game originally intended to be a part of Capcom's Resident Evil franchise.[44] Series' creator Hideki Kamiya wrote his name after rewriting the story and took it from Dante Alighieri's poem Divine Comedy.[45][46] Kamiya has said that the titular character from the manga series Cobra by Buichi Terasawa served as the basis for Dante's personality. Kamiya based his idea of Dante on what he perceived as "Stylish" – wearing a long coat to make the character "showy" and a non-smoker, as Kamiya saw that as more cool. The character wears red because in Japan it is a traditional color for a heroic figure.[47][48] Kamiya has also stated he perceives Dante as "a character that you would want to go out drinking with", someone who was not a show-off but would instead "pull some ridiculous, mischievous joke" to endear people to him. He added that this aspect was intended to make the character feel familiar to audiences.[49] Although Kamiya was not the main writer from the first two Devil May Cry novels he viewed Shinya Goikeda's depiction of Dante similar to the one he wrote.[50]

In the prequel game Devil May Cry 3, Dante's attitude was emphasized to reflect a younger and more arrogant character than in previous installments.[51] The Devil Trigger forms for Dante was designed by Kazuma Kaneko from Atlus.[52][53] Gameplay-wise he was made to be easy to control contrasting Vergil who was harder yet stronger.[45] Devil May Cry 4's producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi noted prior to the release of that game that they wanted to make Dante seem significantly more powerful than the game's other protagonist, Nero. This was done in order to create an evident difference between the strength of a "veteran" when compared to a "rookie". Another reason for this portrayal is based on the series' continuity, which dictated that Dante display the power he would possess after the events of the first game and its prequel, Devil May Cry 3.[54] In this game Dante was designed by Tatsuya Yoshikawa who enjoyed the character in his original appearance to the point of calling him "the ultimate Hollywood action superstar." Yoshikawa discussed with the staff to make Dante older, more mature and more experienced to and have him look between his 30s and 40s. The design included multiple details such as Dante's stubble that reflected his cool personality as he did not care about shaving.[55]

For both Devil May Cry 3 and Devil May Cry 4 Dante was voiced by Reuben Langdon who also did the motion capture for certain scenes.[56] During the development of Devil May Cry 3, Langdon found that doing the motion capture of Dante was difficult to the multiple moves the character makes. Langdon often discussed with the staff about Dante's characterization that was different from the original one as they wanted a "a different spin." Eventually, Langdon decided to do his own rendition of Dante as he was confused with the staff's suggestions. In retrospective, Langdon finds Dante "the most difficult, frustrating and yet rewarding character" he has ever played and stated he grew attached with him.[57] Langdon was told to make Devil May Cry 4 '​s Dante similar to his Devil May Cry 3 persona albeit more mature. Despite the staff's concerns for the difficulties of such portrayal, Langdon had no issues after choosing Roy Focker from the anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross as his character model and noting he had almost the same age as Dante during production of the game.[56]

Redesign[edit]

For DmC: Devil May Cry, a reboot of the series, Dante was completely redesigned as a result of comments by the Capcom staff. Dante's original design was originally meant to be similar to the ones from previous games, but Capcom told the Ninja Theory staff it had to be completely different in order to appeal to a younger demographic.[58] Motohide Eshiro stated this Dante was completely set apart from the previous Dantes which they expected would generate major criticism.[59] While the original Dante was design from a Japanese perspective, the new one was made from a Western perspective.[60] After several drafts of Dante's new character,[58] the designers settled on a look as inspired by Christopher Nolan's film The Dark Knight. Dante's coat is not long, only coming down to his lower-back, his hair is shorter and is black; he has a Devil Trigger form which makes him look close to the classic Dante. Art designer Alessandro Taini drew the character as a child and explain with reboot's origin story why he has white hair.[61] Director Tameem Antoniades denied rumors that his design was modelled after him.[62]

For this game, Dante was made young, consumed by hatred and inexperienced resulting in a fighting style similar to a street brawler rather than that of a skilled swordsman.[63] As a result of the reboot's theme being "rebellion" most of Dante's actions are based around it.[64] Antoniades stated that Dante is about "being cool and making you feel cool when you're playing it," and, as such, they felt that his attire from previous games would be found comical.[65] Antoniades added he felt the classic Dante was not appealing anymore and when comparing the new Dante with the titular character from Bayonetta he did not see her style to be what he wanted for the reboot.[66] Antoniades responded to criticism stating they would not change it as it is supposed to fit within the game's setting.[67] Additionally, he stated he would have liked this Dante in response to the criticism.[64]

Reception[edit]

Dante's confident and fearless attitude has gained him widespread popularity. When first introduced, Game Informer described him as "one of the most bad-ass characters around," citing the contrast between his character and those previously seen in the Resident Evil series.[11] His design and personality received praise from numerous reviews, such as IGN, who referred to him as "a dark antihero kind of guy even a down-in-the-dumps, disgruntled teenager would love."[68] GameSpy described his appearance as "awe-inspiring to look at", feeling his attire was reminiscent of Vincent Price.[69] Empire also ranked Dante on their list of the 50 greatest video game characters as 38th, adding "Dante is surely one of the coolest mothers in the history of videogaming".[70]

GamesRadar named him "Mister 2001" in their article on the sexiest new characters of the decade, stating that compared to the female characters in Devil May Cry, Dante was the "hottest" of them all, due to his muscular build, hair, his fighting abilities, and his attitude.[71] Dante was ranked third in ScrewAttack's list of the "coolest" video game characters in 2007.[72] GameDaily named him one of their favorite Capcom characters, ranking him seventh and stating that the various aspects of the character made him an "unstoppable force".[73] GamesRadar also listed him as one of the 25 best new characters of the decade, calling him "unforgettable", as well as stating that he had set the template for "smartass action heroes".[74] In 2010, Dante came 23rd in a Famitsu poll featuring the most popular video game characters in Japan.[75] He was also voted by Game Informer as the 13th best character from the 2000s.[76] In 2012, GamesRadar stated that despite Dante's multiple characterizations "he's a guy who you'll always have a hell of a time playing with."[77] Dante and Trish were also included in The Inquirer '​s list of the most memorable video game love teams, with comments focused on how the two join forces to defeat their enemies.[78] Additionally, Dante has also often been compared with the titular character from Bayonetta especially in his Devil May Cry 4 persona based on their personalities and actions that made the two of them appealing.[79][80] Reuben Langdon's performance as Dante in Devil May Cry 3 and Devil May Cry 4 received praise by GamesRadar for being the character's best voice actor noting that the two actors did not fit the character well.[81]

On the other hand, Dante's characterization has often resulted in criticism. In Devil May Cry 2, Dante's cocky attitude was largely absent, which was one of the main criticisms of the game.[82][83] The fans' reactions to the new design of Dante in DmC: Devil May Cry were mostly negative.[84][85] Hideki Kamiya found him based on the modern's rebellious youth and said he missed the original Dante, but he still hoped that people would try it.[86] Dave Riley from Anime News Network compared the reboot's Dante with the young Dante from Devil May Cry 3 but criticized him for being "pretty generic adolescent power fantasy" as well as his use of swearing when confronting enemies.[83] Dante's voice actor, Reuben Langdon, expressed disappointment with Dante's characterization in the reboot despite his anticipation to it.[56] On the other hand, several websites writers criticized the fanbase's negative reactions stating they were solely influenced by the character's look and that his personality was very close to the classic Dante.[87][88][89]

References[edit]

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